Are cat allergies taking a toll? Are routine activities getting affected by these irritating allergies? Cat allergies are quite common and undoubtedly annoying. While some allergies do not manifest in a cruel manner, they can still cause problems internally as well as externally.
There are times that the presence of your feline friend can turn out to be problematic more than you can imagine. Have you been sneezing or sniffling in the presence of your cat? You are not alone in this; it is common to some and not all people.
How is this possible? Cats are generally the most common pets. Almost every household registers their presence. Does it mean every member of the family is prone to allergies from cats? Well, that is not the case.
As you will learn along, only a small group is at the risk of the allergies.
This article is going to discuss 4 ways to keep cat allergies out of the house and ensure a smooth coexistence between you and your cat.
What is the Cause of a Cat Allergy?
First and foremost, it is necessary to understand what is meant by an allergy. An allergy is an immune reaction that can indispose a person by causing discomfort or can also result in bad swelling which can block one’s airways.
This immune reaction takes place when a particular foreign body is ingested or enters the body during inhalation.
If this element is a potential allergen, then it is treated by the body as a harmful product which has to be expelled from the body.
Hence to destroy that allergen the immune system attempts to destroy the allergen which sets off a reaction in the body. The effects of that reaction can range from mild itching to severe rashes or even swell around the neck. In some instances, the triggered immune reaction can also cause death.
There are lots of materials that cats release in the form of wastes. But one important one which is known to cause allergy in humans is the histamine which is released in the form of dander.
If your immune system is weak, then your body is likely to react with this substance and the end result is an allergy.
The dander is always released through the cat’s skin. How then will you know when this waste is produced? Given that the cat has its entire body covered with hair, is there a possibility of noticing its production from the cat’s hair?
It is also important to know that the allergens, which are basically the allergy-producing proteins, can also be found in cat’s saliva or urine. This actually leaves you at a higher risk of becoming allergic! My cat has this annoying behavior of peeing anywhere. Worst still she licks me a lot.
How do I stop this? I fear to be allergic. At the same time, I love this beautiful creature. How do I manage to balance the two? Losing my cat is not an option either. It is a confusing state of events that might discourage you from owning a cat or any other pet. That is why we decided to come up with effective 4 ways to keep cat allergies out of the house.
Symptoms of a Cat Allergy
There are two kinds of allergy tests which are conducted, one is by taking a blood sample, and the other is by applying a sample of possible allergen on the skin. This procedure is conducted in a diagnostic clinic by a certified allergist.
One can make an appointment with an allergist and get the allergy test done. A file containing relevant medical history should be given to the allergist before doing the test.
The person can also consult his/her physician before opting for an allergy test. After the test has been conducted the report will detail all potential allergens present in the environment or food products which can cause a reaction.
Some of the most common symptoms of allergy caused by cats are:
- Stuffy nose
- Runny eyes
- Itchy throat
The worst part of the cat allergy is that the symptoms may take time to show. This might sometime make you fail to realize that the cause of the problem is actually your closest friend. The antibodies that cause allergy take varying durations of time to develop.
Does it mean I can also be on the list yet am still not aware? Hell no! Let me believe I am still okay, but I will have to visit a doctor soon. I do not want to take the risk.
But I would rather put up with the allergens than let my cat go. To reduce the risk however, it is important to keep the house free from allergens as much as possible. So what are the prevention measures to consider?
You are in the right place. Stop the panic.
Treatment Options Available for Cat Allergies
Allergy treatment cannot alter the allergic reaction of the immune system which means that if one is allergic to a particular element its introduction in the body will cause problems. Treatment options present in the case of an allergic reaction are mainly aimed at reducing the effect of the physical symptoms.
Medication is given to subdue the immune reaction and minimize the complications caused by the allergy.
If, however, the severe reaction has occurred then hospitalization might be required along with intubation if the airways are blocked.
Additional Reading: Home Remedies for Asthma
How to Stop and Prevent Cat Allergies
These are the four ways you can use to minimize cat allergies at home:
Reduce Contact with the Cat
Avoid frequent holding of your cat; only hold the cat if it is very necessary for example when administering drugs. I know this seems like a punishment to you, but you really should put it into practice.
For the love of the cat, you can hold her occasionally so that she does not feel neglected. But remember to clean your hands after that since some allergens might remain on your hands. Warm water and soap should be nearby whenever you have the thought of stroking your best friend.
If your cat is the type that likes licking you, you could also be at risk of allergic reactions as a result of the protein that is always contained in the saliva (Fel D1). Having the cat close to your face or kissing her should be avoided. Very tough choices to be made here but you have to; to be on the safer side.
If your cat spent some time on your clothes, wash them as soon as possible to remove the dander left on them. My cat has a tendency of sleeping on any pile of clothes she comes across. To prevent the spread of the allergens simply wash them out.
In case you have a severe allergy then you can always avoid visiting households that have cats. Always ask this in advance and explain yourself out in a polite way.
Ask them if it is possible to meet somewhere else. They could as well keep the cat in another room and ensure the entire room is vacuumed to make you comfortable.
That is what true friendship is about. Speak out; do not suffer in silence just to keep your friendship.
Having Clean Air at Home
You might perhaps be wondering how this is even possible. We do not have control over the air we breathe. But we can always improve the quality of air at home. Regular cleaning of the house is such way of ensuring that the air you breathe is clean.
Having a cat at home must call for high-quality cleanliness. The hair that is left on the sofas, linens and such must be cleaned away so often. If your floor has a carpet, then ensure that your vacuum cleaner has HEPA filters.
When cleaning the cat’s litter and areas that she frequents, remember to wear a mask. The dust coming from such areas have high amounts of allergens. You need to keep them out of your breathing system.
HEPA filters in your house cooling and heating systems will also help you a great deal. This is probably considered as one of the most efficient ways of keeping allergens from the air. The filters collect airborne allergens thereby minimizing on cat allergies.
Having a HEPA air purifier in your cat’s room is also an alternative way of having your air as clean as possible. If you come across a vacuum cleaner that can clear cat dander and hair, then do not hesitate to take it home.
Dealing with the Cat
Get your cat bathed at least on a weekly basis. It is something that I’m pretty sure she won’t like. Talk to her in the language you two understand and lure her into bathing. Do not do this if you are allergic. Besides, your cat needs to be clean and smart to command her comrades to obey her.
If you are staying alone, then you will have to look for a cat groomer to get the job done. The washing is done using shampoos that reduce allergens. After the bath, ensure the cat is properly groomed.
Actually, the cat should be groomed on a daily basis as this reduces on shedding. The best cat brush for shedding will help you in this area. Perform this job outside the house and make sure that the fur after every grooming is discarded.
Improving the cat texture removes allergen sources from your cat’s spittle. It simply reduces on the spread of allergens. You can as well consider having your cat stay out of the house. A cat house in the garden, for example, allows her to roam out daytime keeping her away from the house.
Have cat-free zones in the areas that you spend most of your time. Your bedroom is one such area as you will be spending most of your time in there. This is one of the areas that must be comfortable and free from health hazards at all the times. Keep the doors to the places that you do not want to see your cat locked.
This is the last of the 4 ways to keep cat allergies out of the house but definitely not the least.
If the allergy has reached a severe stage, then it is better to seek guidance from a medical doctor. It is the doctor who can determine the stage at which the allergy has reached. Recommendations can vary from moving the cat to a new home, change of lifestyle or even medications.
The doctor will prescribe dosages as per your case as exhibited by the symptoms. Anti-histamines, decongestants, steroids and allergy-reducing injections are some of the things you can expect from a visit to a doctor.
Concluding Thoughts – Preventing and Stopping Cat Allergies
Cat allergy does not affect anybody. Those with weak immune systems are more prone to it. So what should I do? Does it mean I should never own a cat? That is not the case. The 4 ways to keep cat allergies out of the house as discussed above will help the affected.
At the same time, those that might still be free from the cat allergy can find ways of keeping themselves safe. Homes without cats are not that lively. So have one but take the caution as your health is of utmost importance.
I hope you have learned something new. In case you need some clarifications, you can always reach me through the comment box below.
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